Happy Nov 1 and All Souls Day.
Yesterday was my first Halloween in Ballinamore and the local kids told me that they would be knocking on my door from about 5.30pm. My pink cottage is on the main street so I was expecting a bit of trick or treat traffic.
By mid afternoon I had bought a few kilos of sweets and was really getting into the swing of things.
Had a great evening answering the door and handing out sweets to all the kids. I think my place got a rep for interesting sweets because I swear some kids came back 3 times – buy hey – all the witches and warlocks start to look alike after a while.
Inside my cottage I had the fire going and a few friends dropped over to share the pink bubbly I had on offer. I didn’t get to drink very much as I was up to the door every few minutes from 5 pm until nearly 9pm. We all had a great time and I think about 50 kids knocked – sometimes they were 2 deep at the door.
Thanks to Dee who owns the shop next door. She had dropped in for a cuppa and I was running out of sweets so she popped into her closed shop and brought me back a huge tub of lollipops. It’s that kinda town.
Anyway, now comes the rattle the cage part.
Around 9pm I went across the road to visit my neighbours. There were other visitors including a fab women in her late 80’s – very stylish with glasses that had just the right amount of diamantes.
After they had gone I was relaxing with the mistress of the house. She’s a very clear talking woman. She looked at me and said ‘ Have you ever thought of dyeing the grey streak in your hair? ‘
Now folks – you know by now that I am always fascinated by my own and other people’s immediate responses to questions.
My response was a strong ‘ You’ve got to be joking – it’s part of who I am ‘.
I work and live change management and feel that I’m a flexible and resilient person in the face of it.
Well, well … pride is an interesting thing. As is identity.
I didn’t realise until Helena asked me, how much the grey streak was part of how I ‘saw’ myself. The ‘look’ that defined my ‘style’.
So, I went home and chilled out and my mind kept wandering back to Helena’s question – and more importantly – my response.
I realised that I needed to rattle my own cage. I asked myself ‘ What if I dyed over the streak? ‘.
My response was like someone had asked me to give up my family and friends and then run naked down the street. A kind of horror at the thought (and by the way family and friends you mean sooooo much more to me than the grey streak) enveloped me. A real kind of clutching.
More interesting. I have had the streak for about 15 years and in many ways it is a key ‘identifier’ for me and everyone that knows me.
So – it was time to let go of that which I had held on to far too hard and for far too long.
I went to the hairdressers today and had my hair cut and coloured – including the streak!
I’m not joking when I say I’m still coming to grips with the difference – it was easier for me to pack up and move to Ballinamore. I love it as it signifies something to me that’s more than just dyeing a grey streak.
People’s reaction have been very very interesting and tells me a lot about others investment in who ‘Liz’ is.
One friend saw me and just kept saying ‘It’s not you … it’s not you’. She loves the change but said later that it was a shock as I didn’t look like what she was used to.
Now dear reader – it’s not just me dyeing my streak. In the greater scheme of things we’re not talking about a cure for cancer here.
What is interesting is how a perceptively simple act evokes such strong reactions.
It’s a fascinating exercise and almost a metaphor for how we and others react to change that happens in our lives – the changes we choose and the changes that are thrust upon us.
We are creatures that are in a creative tension between wanting to be in our comfort zone (some people waaaay more than others) and wanting that little spice of change. We like to know that the people around us will somehow stay and be the same – and they don’t.
It’s always useful to be mindful of even the smallest opportunities to challenge our own comfort zones. To rattle our own cages.
And for the moment I am startled every time I pass a mirror – who is this Liz?
And in what other ways can I rattle my own cage?
Enjoy and take good care.